The Roaming Foodie

Archive for May 2010

Why is that when I eat here, I always want to go back the very next day?

Answer: It’s just that damn good.

Andrew and I went back to Antico last night for dinner, and it was just as incredible, maybe even more, than the last time we went. We got the San Gennaro, with it’s deliciously sweet and spicy roasted red peppers (they should really just sell jars of those…I’d buy them and eat them all the time). The crust didn’t seem to be as charred this time as the last time, but still with enough char to make it oh so crispy, and yet still have a tender, soft crust on the inside. The buffalo mozzarella was delectable, the sausage meaty and savory, and the crispy basil leaves sweet and herby (which I don’t think is a word, but I don’t care)

Antico warrants two posts. It’s that good. And mainly I just want to reminisce and bask in the moment of eating the San Gennaro last night. Since I’m most likely not going to be able to justify going back for another pizza today. No matter how much I want one.

I love your addictive slices of heavenly pizza, Antico.

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For some reason today, I have been non-stop thinking about the two summers I spent in New York City with American Ballet Theater. The program with ABT lasted 3 weeks, so, I’ve only spent a total of 6 weeks in NYC. But, I fell in love with the city that never sleeps on day one.

Of course, a distinctive part of my trip revolved around food. The second year, I lived there without my mom being with me, and I made a very dear friend (p.s., you can find her really awesome blog about NYC here: http://www.madamebnyc.blogspot.com/) She showed me some of the most AMAZING places to eat in all of our adventures around NYC. One place that really stood out in my mind was this tiny Thai restaurant that was up around Lincoln Center. I can’t remember the name of it, but the deal with it was, there was another restaurant with the same name that served Americanized Thai up the street, but this one was the real-deal Thai food. I don’t remember everything we ate, but I know there was this crispy duck salad that wasn’t on the menu, that had crispy duck pieces (it’s the only time I’ve had duck and enjoyed it), green apples, and some peanuts. So, so yummy. We also went to a great Korean place in East Village where she and I shared Korean barbecued beef that we wrapped in lettuce with white rice. We had several other things too, but I obviously didn’t have this blog then (I so wish I had…it makes me sad that I can’t remember every detail of every meal I had in New York). We also had the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had at a restaurant called Cafeteria. And of course, we went to Magnolia Bakery twice for cupcakes. I remember she had consumed her entire cupcake at Magnolia before we even hit the cash register, and there wasn’t even a line! She also introduced me to Pinkberry (um…overpriced froyo, but absolutely delicious as well) and Gray’s Papaya (which one might remember from the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie has her book signing party, and then the chaffeur takes her for hot dogs afterwards…that was Gray’s Papaya). Nothing like a hot dog and papaya juice on a warm day in NYC after touring the Met.

So, you may ask, how did we consume all this food, and not completely destroy our waistlines (besides the fact that we pretty much walked everywhere) and our wallets (food in NYC is pricey, especially eating out)? I learned a very, very good lesson from her that I really should put into practice more.

We ordered one or two dishes of whatever we wanted, and shared them, then split the ticket down the middle.

It was a beautiful system. For instance, at Cafeteria, we ordered the fabulous mac and cheese, and a salmon dish that was phenomenal. But we shared it. And, if I can recall, we didn’t even finish it all because it was more than enough food. We did this pretty much every single time we ate out, and if one of the other dancers we made friends with was joining us, we’d up it to 3 dishes and share those between us all, and split the check three ways. This way, we could get away with eating whatever we wanted and not eat too much or have to pay an exorbitant amount for a meal.

Seriously. I am re-introducing this idea into my life. So I can eat out more, and thus write more blog posts. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

There was also this diner called Manatus near where I stayed the first summer I was there. I was lucky enough to be able to spend the first summer in West Village where my great-uncle used to have an apartment (he sold it before my 2nd summer). I don’t know if it was because this diner was the first place I ate, ever, in NYC, but it is still one of my favorite restaurants ever, even though there was nothing about it that particularly stood out. It was just simple, normal, good diner fare.

The other thing about the apartment I stayed at my first summer was that it was literally right across the street from the Magnolia Bakery made famous by the Saturday Night Live “Lazy Sunday” skit and, more importantly, Sex and the City (yes…the actual one SJP and Cynthia Nixon sat outside of was right across the street from me…love!) The lines for it were ridiculous too. Except on weekday evenings around dinner time. No line. My mom and I got cupcakes every Monday night we were there. There’s not much to say about Magnolia cupcakes except that they are phenomenal and have every right to be as famous as they are.

Now I really want a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. Or some Tasti D-Lite ( http://www.tastidlite.com/ don’t judge me…it’s good!) Someone should really think about putting a Tasti D-Lite in ATL…I’m just saying.

Between the walking around the city, the fantastic food to be found, the shopping, the shows (I got to see WICKED and met some of the actors and actresses outside of the stage door…and they signed my program!) and the visit to Tiffany and Co, my heart swoons…

I miss you, New York City.

It’s so great to be back in the ATL 🙂 How I have missed thee…

So, going to Six Feet Under on 11th street was a great welcome back to Atlanta. Andrew took me there Monday evening for dinner.

First thing about Six Feet Under. There are two locations: Grant Park and then the one on 11th Street that we went to. Obviously, in this post, I will be referring to the 11th Street one.

We ended up sitting on the roof patio. All the tables were full, but there is bar seating at the edge of the patio where the railing is (so not technically “bar” seating, I guess, but I think you can get my point). We took the seating at the rail, which ended up being really nice because we took seats that faced the skyline of Atlanta, and by the time we were getting through our meal, the sun had started to set and it was gorgeous. Second, the rail seating allowed Andrew and I to be able to talk and sit next to each other and not have to shout across the table, which was nice.

Now for the food. I noticed immediately that they served alligator bites (fried pieces of alligator). Once I had gotten over my initial excitement of seeing alligator on a menu outside of Florida, Andrew insisted that we order them. We also decided on our entrees before our server came over with our drinks, so we were able to put in our entire order at once. Our waiter informed me that there are two versions of my Shrimp and Scallop dish: an appetizer and an entree. He told me that the appetizer version was the same size, but only included hush puppies instead of hush puppies + two sides. Not wanting to completely destroy my waistline (which, by ordering fried alligator, I kind of already had) I ordered the appetizer version. Thanks for being cool and letting me know! I’ve noticed a lot of servers don’t do that, and just go ahead and give you the largest portion. Andrew ordered Shrimp and Grits (which made me so so SO happy, as I hadn’t encountered a non-South Carolinian yet to order the dish of their own accord, without prompting from me), and we waited.

Our alligator came fairly quickly. It was good, especially since I hadn’t had alligator in a long time, but the breading was a little heavy. I had several different kinds of fried alligator on several different trips to Florida, so I know that I favor a light breading on alligator (ratio of 1 breading: 2 alligator…I really shouldn’t try to throw in math in any part of my life, especially in posts). The gator came with a dill sauce that was pretty tasty, and the gator was tender. But, I would’ve liked more gator, less breading.

We finished our basket of gator, and began to wait for our entrees. And wait. And wait. It took quite a long time to get our entrees, which was kind of a downside, but spending time with my boyfriend and talking was nice. And the alligator curbed my ravenous stomach, so I wasn’t grumpy. But still. I really wanted my hush puppies, and I wanted them ASAP.

Our food finally arrived. My Shrimp and Scallops were fantastic. It was a really simple dish, but really fresh and light, which is what I think seafood should be. They were just baked in parchment with lemon slices, salt, pepper, and basil. YUM! Plus, getting dishes baked in parchment paper is always fun…it’s like opening a present! Of delicious food. The hush puppies were good, but a little doughy for my taste, and I usually like things doughy. Except hushpuppies. They shouldn’t be doughy. But maybe it’s because I’m used to hush puppies made of cornmeal and having that cornmeal texture, and I am pretty certain these weren’t made with cornmeal. That aside, they were still pretty good.

Now, for Andrew’s Shrimp and Grits. Sigh. This will be a little bit of a rant. Where I’m from, Shrimp and Grits are made with shrimp, bacon, grits (that sometimes have cheese mixed in), and sometimes a light gravy. Andrew’s Shrimp and Grits had shrimp (check), grits (check), and asparagus and red peppers piled on top??? whoa. stop. No. It my be just me being picky, but there are to be no vegetables on shrimp and grits. Sorry, but that killed the dish for me. Also, I thought the grits had a strange texture to them that I couldn’t quite pick out what exactly was weird about them. I was not thrilled with the Shrimp and Grits. End rant.

But, forgiving the shrimp and grits, the food was still incredibly good, especially considering that Atlanta is an inland city with a lack of fresh seafood like you’d get on a coastal town. I thought Six Feet Under came as close as it could get to having that coastal seafood restaurant taste with it being a restaurant in an inland city.

Six Feet Under definitely has the bar atmosphere, especially up on the patio. Not exactly what you think of when the phrase “romantic dinner” comes to mind, but for me, sitting with my boyfriend overlooking the Atlanta skyline at sundown with good, unpretentious seafood, it couldn’t have been lovelier.

Now I just have to get my boyfriend to Charleston, SC and show him what some really fresh seafood is like 🙂

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Hi everyone!

I’m back in Atlanta now. It’s been pretty busy with moving from Birmingham to SC for a few days then back to Atlanta, not to mention doing internship training for the past two days and trying to get settled (by the way, I LOVE my internship so far. But I’ll have to acquire some dressier clothes. they’re pretty strict about their dress code.)

Anyway, hopefully I’ll manage to write more posts about food and such once I get into some sort of routine. But so far, over the past few days, I have eaten cereal, sandwiches from Starbucks, some frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s, some sort of boxed Chinese dinner (Wanchai Ferry, which was alright, but really just fun to make with my roommate), and a mozzarella, tomato, and red pepper sandwich from a deli in Marietta I ate at with my bro (it was good. And big enough to make into two meals. Always nice). Oh, and I just consumed a Krispy Kreme doughnut for the first time since my senior year of high school. Wooooo sugar high!!!!

Point is, I’ll post something more interesting, productive, and on topic soon.

At least…it did when I woke up this morning, really jonesing for some tacos. I decided to venture to a Taco Truck that one of my friends here in Birmingham had mentioned several times. On a study break, of course.

The weather is incredibly warm today, and very sunny and bright, so it was kind of nice to head outside to get lunch from a truck. It’s located on W. Valley Avenue in a gas station parking lot, right down the street from my beloved Red Pearl Restaurant. There were quite a few Hispanics outside (always a good sign that the food is going to be authentic), women in scrubs, and men in business suits that reminded me of my brother. I guess because of the suits. But I digress.

All you have to do is decide what kind of meat you want in your taco (there’s a sign, in Spanish, on the side of the truck. If you don’t know Spanish, some of the names have English in parentheses, which was good for me). I had already had the “al pastor” (barbecue pork) recommended to me. I decided to be less adventurous and get “pollo” (chicken), even though I was kind of considering getting “tripa” (tripe) or “lengua” (tongue).  They have Mexican bottles of soda and such available too, but I didn’t get any, since I needed to get my tacos to go instead of sitting in the parking lot to eat. Although, it’d be a lot of fun to sit outside on a warm day by a taco truck with a friend (or the boyfriend) and eat tacos.

The chicken was so incredibly tender. It was shredded, not chopped, and just perfectly spiced and still juicy. The al pastor was chopped up, and had been barbecued in a smoky, slightly sweet marinade. I’m going to go ahead and guess it was chipotle based, but I’m not exactly an aficionado when it comes to Mexican food. All tacos come in two very soft, very fresh corn tortillas. Believe me, two shells on each taco are needed, especially after you add the salsas to the tacos. They have a red salsa, which is pretty spicy, and a green salsa, which I didn’t try because I was told it was really spicy. All the tacos come with cilantro, onions, and a lime wedge to squeeze on top. The al pastor had cheese, but I don’t believe the chicken taco did (it’s hard to judge…I kind of inhaled them). I definitely recommend this taco truck (officially called Taqueria Guzman, but I’ll always call it Taco Truck, haha) if you’re in Birmingham and looking for cheap (each taco is only $1.75) and authentic tacos. They also have burritos (the guy in front of me got one and it was HUGE), quesadillas, and tostadas. I don’t what it is, and maybe it’s just me, but food always seems better when it’s served from a truck or a street cart. And this taco truck is legit. Trust me, and go eat a taco (or three…) from Taqueria Guzman.

Back to studying. My exam is in an hour and a half. Then I’ll officially be a senior.